The case of female talent at the top



The first is decision making, where the business encourages diversity of thought, avoids group thinking, and stimulates discussion around strategies and alternative solutions for a decision to be made more vigorously. Second, when it comes to growth, Navacord encourages soul-searching to really examine strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats – and “none of these exercises can happen very deeply if everyone in the room is alike. Muise noted.

The third and most important thing Navacord does is make an effort to broaden its leadership models and include women in a more balanced team.

“Diversity of ideas is, in my opinion, the most robust way to drive business goals, capture growth and mitigate risk, and the only way to have diversity of thinking is to diversify this team of people. leaders, ”Muise said. “Gender equality seems to be the best place to start.”

Being surrounded by women in senior roles has been a key theme that has run through most of Muise’s life. While pursuing her studies in mathematics at the university, her teachers stood out because, along with Muise, they were often the only women in the room.

“I’ve been very lucky in my career – I’ve had a lot of strong female leaders to learn from early on,” she said.

Most women say they have learned the most important leadership lessons from other women, and Muise believes that lifelong mentorship – whether formal or informal, as a mentor or mentee – is essential. She believes that senior leaders using their platform and voice to provide young women with the opportunity to develop their business acumen and acquire the skills they need to take on broader leadership roles ensure that “you surround yourself with top to bottom and bottom to top ”, which is essential for advancing female talent to the top.

According to a KPMG study of women leaders, 80% of women believe that having a female mentor will help them advance their careers. Mentoring is also Muise’s first recommendation on what members of the leadership team, regardless of gender, can do to promote female leadership. But while there is a lot of writing about what organizations should do to achieve this, there isn’t much advice on how to get there, but Muise has tangible examples of what she does. made personally to Navacord to help women progress.

For example, Muise has an eye on candidate diversity from the start of its recruiting process. Whenever possible, she wants to ensure that she has both men and women in the candidate pool, as well as the final interview phase. Muise also makes sure she includes men in the conversation about hiring or developing female leaders, which allows everyone to build their “diversity muscles” together.

“When I’m in a room full of men and someone is commenting that I’m the only woman, there’s a huge opportunity to jump on it and say, ‘How can we change this to the next meeting? ‘ ‘ she said. “How about recruiting talented women who could take advantage of a development opportunity, for example.”

The same KPMG study found that 91% of working women said it was important to have a positive role model and 86% said that if they see a leader who looks like them, they feel they can make it happen. When it comes to employee development and succession planning, key female talents aspiring to leadership should be able to look up and see themselves reflected in these roles and know that it is possible to achieve this type. career growth – just as Muise was inspired by his wife. teachers that she too could take a seat at the table one day.

She notes that female leadership is also important to clients: women make up more than half of Canadian society and contribute to the economy, and their insurance needs follow.

“If you want to maximize ‘Know Your Customer’ initiatives, having your customers reflected in your leadership team will only serve to deepen your value proposition,” said Muise.

Shareholders also benefit, as there is a very strong correlation between female executive leadership and higher profitability, better return on investment and stronger engagement. But while it makes good business sense to have a balanced leadership team, the reality of executing that dream team is more complicated. Even though the world has made great strides in advancing women, men still make up 90% of C-level leadership positions in Canada – “that’s not a great statistic when you think about how most of Canadians see themselves as progressive, ”said Muise.

It’s important to advance diversity where possible, and while many companies are at the stage where they recognize they have work to do in this area, that’s not a story enough. Getting the job done is what’s newsworthy. Changing the composition of the management team is what is of interest. Navacord recognizes – and values ​​- female talent at the top and is actively working on initiatives to keep moving in the right direction.

“I am proud to be part of an organization that has female executives in many of our partner brokerage companies, as well as at our head office,” said Muise. “And I’m proud to be one of those women.”


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